1818 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Sotheby

Lord Byron, in Beppo (1818); Poetical Works, ed. E.H. Coleridge (1898-1904) 4:182-83.



They cannot read, and so don't lisp in criticism;
Nor write, and so they don't affect the Muse;
Were never caught in epigram or witticism,
Have no romances, sermons, plays, reviews,—
In Harems learning soon would make a pretty schism,
But luckly these Beauties are no "Blues;"
No bustling Botherby have they to show 'em
"That charming passage in the last new poem:"

No solemn, antique gentleman of rhyme
Who having angled all his life for Fame,
And getting but a nibble at a time
Still fussily keeps fishing on, the same
Small "Triton of the minnows," the sublime
Of Mediocrity, the furious tame
The Echo's echo, usher of the school
Of female wits, boy bards — in short, a fool!

A stalking oracle of awful phrase,
The approving "Good!" (by no means GOOD in law)
Humming like flies around the newest blaze,
The bluest of bluebottles you e'er saw,
Teasing with blame, excruciating with praise,
Gorging the little fame he gets all raw,
Translating tongues he knows not even by letter,
And sweating plays so middling, bad were better.